It was 77 years ago, August 14, 1935, that the Social Security program was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt. Today, more Arizona seniors are relying on the program's benefits as part of their retirement security.
See Also: Social Security
According to AARP's Public Policy Institute (PPI), in 2011 about 85 percent, or over 783,000 seniors in Arizona, received Social Security with the average annual benefit being about $14,300.
"The importance of Social Security is more vital than ever to seniors in Arizona because of today's troubled economy," said David Mitchell, AARP Arizona State Director. "Many seniors count on Social Security to get by."
The AARP Public Policy Institute found that Social Security keeps many middle income Arizona seniors from falling into poverty. "About eleven percent, or over 81,000 older Arizonans are currently in poverty,” said Mitchell. “Without Social Security, another 31 percent, or over 236,000 seniors in our state, would fall below the poverty line."
PPI also estimates that low and middle income Arizona seniors are more reliant than ever on Social Security's earned benefits. For many in the state, Social Security makes up about 80 percent of their individual retirement income.
“The next President and Congress could determine the future of these programs, as proposals for changing Medicare and Social Security are being discussed in Washington right now,” said Mitchell. "At the same time AARP is committed to ensuring that Americans who have paid into these programs will be able to continue to count on their guaranteed benefits."
AARP has been taking the debate about the future of Medicare and Social Security out from behind closed doors in Washington by hosting a national conversation called You've Earned a Say. “There’s no doubt that Social Security is the foundation of retirement security for many older Arizonans and Americans nationwide,” added Mitchell. “As it celebrates its 77th year, we need to make sure people are engaged in this national discussion to keep it strong for future generations.”
Find more information about AARP’s You’ve Earned a Say.
You can also visit the AARP Arizona Facebook page to keep up to date on the latest events and news from Arizona AARP.
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